NSW’s ninth Omicron COVID-19 case may have been locally acquired

NSW Health is concerned the state’s ninth Omicron COVID-19 infection “may have been acquired in the community”.The latest case, a student at Regents Park Christian School in Western Sydney, has not been overseas and has no links to people who have travelled abroad.Health Minister Brad Hazzard said two other students at the school had “early indications” of Omicron infection and were undergoing further testing.”I’m expecting those results should be back later today,” he said.Mr Hazzard said this latest case was concerning as it appeared to have been transmitted in the community.”I think transmission is always a concern but we again need to keep it in perspective at the moment,” he said.”Worldwide, there is not clarity around whether this particular variant is going to cause us anywhere near the problems that the earlier variants caused us.”The Omicron infection numbers are slowly growing in NSW and last night authorities confirmed the state’s eighth case was a passenger on a flight from Singapore to Sydney on November 28.LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemicEvery person on the affected Singapore Airlines flight has been asked to get tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result.Two passengers from this flight have already previously tested positive to the Omicron variant but neither spent time in the community due to new quarantine rules introduced in NSW.Yesterday a child, who is too young to be vaccinated, also tested positive for the new strain after travelling on flight QR908 from Doha to Sydney on November 23.Urgent genomic sequencing is being done on the child’s parents but none of the family had been to southern Africa, prompting NSW Health to suspect transmission occurred on the flight.A number of venues visited by the family in Chatswood on Sydney’s lower north shore have been listed as exposure sites.Positive Omicron cases have also been identified in passengers on two other Qatar Airways flights from Doha, which landed on November 25 and 27 respectively.Read more about the Omicron variant:Research is still being done on the new variant, which was first identified in southern Africa, but yesterday Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said there was “no real evidence” that it was more severe than the Delta variant.”So we remain, I remain cautiously optimistic, but we need further information,” he said.NSW recorded 337 new COVID-19 cases and no deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday.Although this is a higher number than the state has seen for many weeks, Mr Hazzard said it wasn’t particularly concerning and it was a “modest” increase.Premier Dominic Perrottet said he was surprised cases weren’t higher given the high rate of mobility and reiterated case numbers were not the ultimate measurement for success.”Hospitalisations and deaths … they are the numbers that matter,” he said.There are currently 140 COVID-19 patients in NSW hospitals, with 24 being treated in intensive care units.To date 94.6 per cent of people aged 16 and over have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 92.6 per cent are fully vaccinated.Of the people aged 12 to 15, 81.3 per cent have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 76.9 per cent are fully vaccinated.Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 4 minutes 58 seconds4m 58s Heavily mutated Omicron variant puts scientist on alertWhat you need to know about coronavirus:Loading form…

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